Do you ever wonder why some weed smells and tastes amazing – and other buds rather taste like dried grass? Cannabis from caring home-cultivators often is of better quality than cannabis you randomly buy off the streets or from lesser coffeeshops. Part of it has to do with growing the weed, but most of it has to with what happens after it has been grown.
When the weed(for ex. Orange Sorbet) is dried properly, it will have only a slight smell and taste to it. Nothing in comparison to the strong odor experienced during the first days after the harvest or during the trim. Where some would take this loss of smell for granted and start smoking their homegrown from this stage on; others go one step further to preserve the aroma of their carefully grown cannabis. This next step is called ‘curing’.
After carefully cultivating your crop for months, an additional few weeks of curing is nothing. It will transform harsh and damp buds into smooth flowers loaded with taste.
Harvest time might seem like the final stage in the growing process, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. After you’ve harvested the fruits of your labour, it’s time for the most vital steps of them all: drying and curing.
Drying is just as it sounds—it’s the process of removing the majority of the water content from your buds. This will make them easier to handle, more resilient against mould formation, and a lot more pleasant to smoke. Some growers are happy to blaze dried buds, but if you want to take the flavour and potency of your harvest to the next level, you’ll need to cure them.
WHAT IS CURING WEED?
Curing cannabis is the weeks-long process of slowly removing moisture from buds under controlled environmental conditions.
Curing is a preservation technique that humans have used for millennia to store meats and other degradable items, typically with the help of salts and sugars. Though you won’t need to add anything to your weed. Curing cannabis requires nothing more than patience and proper technique.
WHY IS CURING WEED IMPORTANT?
Curing can take anywhere from two weeks to six months, and while it may seem like a hassle, curing turns harsh buds into cream-of-the-crop cannabis experiences.
The curing process encourages the degradation of plant byproducts such as sugars and chlorophyll. Freshly harvested cannabis contains starches that serve as a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and other airborne bacteria. When smoked, these molecules leave harsh, unpleasant tastes in your mouth. Curing eliminates the byproducts from your nugs, protecting your plants from bacteria and producing a much smoother smoke.
Curing also enhances the flavors of your weed by preserving the delicate bouquet of terpenes. Terpenes provide cannabis its delicious smell and palate, but these molecules are fragile; they can degrade and evaporate in heat as mild as 70 degrees Fahrenheit. A low, slow cure preserves the terpenes much more successfully than a faster drying process.
A proper cannabis cure also preserves the heavy-hitting potency of your buds, which is essential if you’ve invested time and money to cultivate a great set of genetics. Through exposure to light and oxygen, THC slowly degrades into a cannabinoid known as CBN, which, while mildly psychoactive, produces a very different experience. Curing at low temperatures maintains the integrity of your buds’ THC levels, which means a more potent smoke when your efforts pay off.
Finally, curing your cannabis dramatically enhances the shelf life of your harvest. When correctly cured and stored, your buds are protected from mold and can last for nearly two years with imperceptible changes in flavor and potency.
WHY CURE YOUR CANNABIS BUDS?
Patience is a virtue in all areas of life, and it certainly pays off when curing cannabis. Curing is a prolonged process that can take weeks to complete. It might seem like a hassle at first, but the reality is that curing will turn harsh buds into ones that offer a smooth and delicious smoke. This is because prolonged curing leads to the degradation of byproducts produced by the drying process, such as sugars. These molecules leave a particularly harsh and unpleasant taste in the mouth. Curing banishes these compounds, resulting in a buttery smooth smoke.
Curing also preserves desirable flavours. The molecules that give cannabis strains their intense and unique flavours are known as terpenes. These volatile compounds can degrade easily under high heat, so gentle drying followed by prolonged curing is the way to go for tasty buds.
Taste isn’t the only thing that curing can accomplish. The process can also enhance the high itself. THC, the active psychotropic constituent in cannabis, degrades over time into a cannabinoid known as CBN. CBN is thought to be mildly psychoactive, but is associated with different effects than THC.
Curing will also greatly enhance the shelf life of your harvest and further minimise cases of mould. If cured and stored correctly, your buds can last for a year or longer without any decline in taste or strength.
FACTORS THAT AFFECT THE CURING PROCESS
Before we get into exactly how to cure your cannabis buds, let’s discuss some of the factors that influence the process. This will help you gain a firm understanding of what to aim for and what to avoid.
1. AVOID LIGHT EXPOSURE
During the curing process, you’ll need to keep your stash in a dark location. Light is one factor that can lead to the degradation of valuable molecules such as THC and terpenes. To avoid having light spoil the taste and potency of your flowers, keep your jars in a dark cupboard or box. Alternatively, storing your buds in miron glass jars, a type of glass that filters out all visible light apart from violet, will offer additional protection.
2. PROTECT YOUR STASH FROM HEAT
Heat will only be a substantial issue if you live in a climate where it becomes exceptionally hot. Heat is another factor that can lead to the degradation of cannabinoids, potentially reducing the potency of your buds. Be sure to keep your jars in a cool location to minimise damage and mould formation. An ideal room temperature for curing is around 21°C.
3. FIND THE HUMIDITY SWEET SPOT
Curing is a straightforward process considering you start with properly dried buds. If your stash is too wet before curing, buds will clump together and there’s a good chance that mould will take hold. Increased moisture will also encourage anaerobic bacteria to start breaking down your stash. A telltale sign this is happening is the smell of ammonia emerging from your jars every time you open them.
On the flip side, curing bud that is too dry will create a crumbly and harsh stash that isn’t pleasant to smoke. Ideally, cannabis flowers should be dried in a room with a humidity of between 45–55%. This will result in a dry and slightly crumbly exterior and a more humid interior. Once it comes time for curing, humidity is increased slightly to an ideal reading of around 62%.